|The big surprise
As usual, Africa has done poorly overall. What is interesting is that the Sub-Sahara does not lead in Africa’s bad news department.
This time, the losing region in Africa is North Africa. It is where you find Africa’s least free countries. Libya, Egypt and Algeria have lower freedom scores than any sub-Saharan country. Normally, in most global contests, the Sub-Sahara lags behind North Africa. Not this time.
The bigger surprise
Before the Sub-Sahara gets too smug, four African countries were not included in this survey. Notably, they are all countries that would most certainly end up near or at the bottom of the list if we had data on them. Eritrea, Somalia and the two Sudans are not covered in this global ranking.
The benefit of robbing every one of their freedom is that you can stop international organizations from doing any surveys of your country. That is why North Korea was not included either.
Tanja Porčnik, an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute and co-author of the Human Freedom Index, said, “Eritrea, the two Sudans and Somalia have not been included in the Human Freedom Index because sufficient data coverage does not exist, notably these countries are not included in the World Economic Forum’s The Global Competitiveness Report. Based on the data available and various reports on the violations of freedoms in these countries, my prediction is that when included, these countries will rank in the last quartile of the Human Freedom Index.”
I agree. I’ve visited every African country and it seems that Eritrea would be the bottom of the bunch.
There’s a good reason that its two nicknames are the Hermit Kingdom and Africa’s North Korea.
Right on its tail would probably be South Sudan and Somalia.
The good news
Although Sudan was not included, things are looking better for the country ever since the Trump administration ended the economic sanctions. The Obama administration had started that process in its last week in office and Trump, surprisingly, finished it.
Sudan is encouraging tourism and investment. However, Darfur tourism is still not wide open.
The other good news is that Botswana has soared 22 spots. It’s been hailed as one of the prime examples of how an African country can excel. Porčnik adds, “Hope for freedom comes from the Gambia, where after more than two decades of the oppressive rule of President Jammeh, which was responsible for imprisonments, torture, and disappearances of the members of the opposition, journalists, and civil society activists, the presidential election victory for Adama Barrow is turning things in the positive direction. The Gambia’s government is guaranteeing more and more freedoms to their people, also by releasing political prisoners.”